In the process of living, the winds of circumstances blow on us all in an unending flow that touches each of our lives.
We have all experienced the blowing winds of disappointment, despair and heartbreak. Why, then, would each of us, in our own individual ship of life, all beginning at the same point, with the same intended destination in mind, arrive at such different places at the end of the journey? Have we not all been blown by the winds of circumstances and buffeted by the turbulent storms of discontent?
What guides us to different destinations in life is determined by the way we have chosen to set our sail. The way that each of us thinks makes the major difference in where each of us arrives. The major difference is the set of the sail.
The same circumstances happen to us all. We have disappointments and challenges. We all have reversals and those moments when, in spite of our best plans and efforts, things just seem to fall apart. Challenging circumstances are not events reserved for the poor, the uneducated or the destitute. The rich and the poor have marital problems. The rich and the poor have the same challenges that can lead to financial ruin and personal despair. In the final analysis, it is not what happens that determines the quality of our lives; it is what we choose to do when we have struggled to set the sail and then discover, after all of our efforts, that the wind has changed directions.
When the winds change, we must change. We must struggle to our feet once more and reset the sail in the manner that will steer us toward the destination of our own deliberate choosing. The set of the sail, how we think and how we respond, has a far greater capacity to destroy our lives than any challenges we face. How quickly and responsibly we react to adversity is far more important than the adversity itself. Once we discipline ourselves to understand this, we will finally and willingly conclude that the great challenge of life is to control the process of our thinking.
Learning to reset the sail with the changing winds rather than permitting ourselves to be blown in directions we did not purposely choose requires the development of a whole new discipline. It involves going to work on establishing a powerful, personal philosophy that will help to influence in a positive way all that we do, think and decide. If we can succeed in this worthy endeavor, the result will be a change in the course of our income, lifestyle and relationships, and in how we feel about the things of value as well as the times of challenge. If we can alter the way we perceive, judge and decide upon the main issues of life, then we can dramatically change our lives.
Jim Rohn was a leading author, speaker and business lecturer. He is the author of 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness: Power Ideas from America’s Foremost Business Philosopher, among other fantastic books and audio programs.